Starting off with Lovely Bones -Warning! This may contain spoilers if you have not read the book or seen the film.
For some reason I keep referring to it as Lazy Bones. It was a C.A.C.T.U.S night so the cost was a very reasonable £2.95. The brave souls to risk the wrath of god this week were Guy and Mala and they both seemed to enjoy Peter Jackson's vision of heaven. I had read some reviews beforehand which had ripped into the film. I don't know what film they were reviewing or, more to the point, what narcotics they had been imbibing before putting pen to paper, but talk about misinformation. One revue claimed that Susie, the girl who is murdered, did not know who had killed her and spent the film trying to find out. Since it is clear from the start that she knows her killer, you have to question if the reviewer had seen the film or even read the book. It was more likely that they had relied on a 5 year old (and not a particularly bright one) who themselves had not seen it but been told by their 3 year old sibling(again not a particularly bright one) to tell them the plot.....
OK, some of the sub-plots had changed from the book. The affair between the mother and the detective has been stolen but this is inevitable for narrative and pace (Oh, my god. That makes me sound a bit like a director, or at least it would to a 5 year old who learned from a 3 year old what they think a director should sound like). Some of the imagery that Jackson put in is superb. For instance the scene where Susie's father smashes his collection of ships in bottles* as they appear in the ocean in Susie's heaven being dashed against the rocks is inspired and demonstrates the connection between Susie and her father even after her death. Even the tricky rape and death scene was dealt with well - as Susie started to run from the underground den, where she had been lured, my mind was screaming "but she didn't get out in the book!!!" and I expected to see Mr Harvey (her murderer) run after her and drag her back in a true Hollywood attempt to add unneeded tension. Of course she doesn't in the film either. It is her soul fleeing her body - very imaginative and an excellent way of avoiding having to show a controversial teenage rape and murder.
* Hey I'm not going to judge. People collect all sorts of strange and wonderful things. I have heard of people who collect toenail clippings. Don't believe me? Then check this out " Toenail clipping collection. Personally I would call it failure to throw things away rather than a collection, but don't get Mrs B started on that subject. I'm already in enough trouble over my navel fluff Collection. Just kidding - it's not actually mine, I just hired Graham's Paddock's collection for the weekend. What next? Toe jam and ear wax collections? Oh, yes they are all on the web,present and correct but I'll leave you to Google them yourself. As for Tampax collections, I'm not even going to look into that one but you can bet your sweet puberty that someone in the world probably collects them.....
The only bit of the film that didn't work for me was when the mother returned home after abandoning the family for years. No explanation that it was because of her husband's heart attack, as in the book, nor indeed were there any signs of the heart attack itself. Other than that small gripe I thought it was a great film...
3D or not 3D that is the question (No real spoilers just a bit of grumbling and disappointment)
Alice in Wonderland 3D, at the IMAX in London (The UK's largest screen) - I fear I had built my expectations too high. Don't get me wrong. I loved parts of the film but it just didn't tick all the boxes. I enjoyed Jonny Depp as the Mad Hatter but that might be because the critics had laid into him, so my expectations were lowered. I loved the Cheshire cat (but then I would wouldn't I?) but I really struggled with Alice, the dormouse (they could have got someone better than Barbara Windsor for the voice) and as for the White Queen, I'm assuming the White Queen is meant to be the good one but to be honest I found her more frightening than the comic Red Queen. While Helena Bonham-Carter strutted around screaming "Off with their heads!" and was clearly based on Queenie from Blackadder II, Ann Hathaway has the look of a sociopathic killer who probably has a body count that would make Joseph Stalin look like an amateur when it comes to culling his own people....
Then there is the whole 3D debate. Personally I can take or leave it. I often find it more distracting than anything. Sure, some of the effects are impressive, at one point a group of people walked across the foreground of the picture, it was so realistic I felt I could reach out and touch them. It was fortunate that I didn't as they turned out to be late arrivals and I probably would have got a good slapping. Besides, 3D makes Mrs B feel queasy and those glasses everyone has to wear don't get any better. It makes the cinema look like a room full of Mr Magoo's.
Well done to our friends Kirsty and Joe who managed to not only make it to the IMAX this time, but also stayed awake for the entire film, which is more than Mrs B did. As a bonus they did not have to go rushing off to the toilet halfway through the film. The last time I did that it was during Oliver Twist and I was about six.....does this mean that we have at last managed to toilet train you for the cinema? (P.S Kirsty, I promise not to mention you being responsible for getting the ladies toilets, in the Archduke, closed down for two hours before we went to the movie. I'm sure it was just a coincidence.....)
The best thing about seeing the film this week was that it does allow for a nice segue into the next topic as well as providing, in my opinion, an excellent Blog title:
BlackLOG in Punctureland
While travelling at high speed (I'm admitting to 77mph and nothing more without my lawyer present) one of ElleGee's warning lights came on. (The one which indicates that tyre pressure has changed and not in a good way.) I slowed down and figured "Not a problem, the car's fitted with run flat tyres which are good for 50 miles I could get to work and sort it out from there. 3 miles further on and ElleGee was vibrating like a small child who has not only discovered their full year's supply of sweets but scoffed the lot and started on next year's stash. I was close to the South Mimms service station and since I had never had the pleasure of stopping off there decided it was time for a visit. A big thanks to the white van driver who honked his horn and pointed excitedly at my back nearside tyre as I limped onto the slipway coming off the M25. No really, I always drive at 20 miles an hour with my hazards flashing and my car jerking around like a headless chicken at a samba festival and I had absolutely no idea that I had a flat.....thanks!
My boss, who was with me (we have car pooled for the last 10 years, how green is that? It's done nothing for my campaign to waste the planet before we ruin it) was very understanding and called for assistance, which involved getting one of his other staff to come and collect him. This left me to call my Company Car help-line. The problem with run flats is that you have them instead of having a spare and when they work they are great. I once had a double puncture with normal tyres which left me stranded. With run flats you can, in theory, have a quadruple blow out and still get home. So much for theories. It seems that if the side wall of the run flat tyre is damaged your expensive run flat tyre becomes a useless chunk of rubber sprawling across the tarmac....
I had a choice, wait for an estimated 9 hours for a mobile tyre van to come and fit a replacement (one would have thought I was in the outer Hebrides not just off one of the UK's busiest roads) or opt for a tow to a garage. Hmm........a 9 hour wait for tyres or an 1 hour wait for a tow truck. Decisions, decisions. It was a close run thing what with coffee shop and Waitrose supermarket on site at South Mimms (although I'm not sure if you can call it a supermarket if it only stocks around 10 items) but in the end I opted to save 8 hours.
The rescue service was true to their word and turn up just a couple of minutes after the appointed time,looking good..... only it soon became clear that it wasn't. The rescue van was supplied under the BMW warranty for the car, while the tyre replacement is sorted out under my Company car scheme who only use selected outlets; BMW not being one of them. The driver was under instructions to tow me to the nearest BMW garage. I explained the problem to the driver and expected him to quote red tape and say his hands were tied but he turned out not to be job's worth, clicked off his radio, so they could not contact him and took me to my waiting tyres (I had used my hour wisely and found a suitable garage covered by the Company Car scheme which had the tyres in stock). It was all going so well.
The garage took off my wheel, got approval to have the tyres changed and then realised they didn't have the correct tyre after all. Despite me giving them the correct code they missed out the run flat part when they checked the stock levels. It took them 3 hours to get the replacement from their depot about 5 miles down the road. If I had known it would take so long I would have walked to collect it and roll it back myself.
After so much waiting I had read the newspaper from cover to cover and had started composing obituaries for the inventor of Run Flat Tyres and garage operatives who can't use their stock control system properly.
Mrs B's new road bike. It has taken me weeks to get her out on it (to be fair though the weather has not been kind) only to find that less than a mile after we started her back tyre was flat. I discovered a shard of stone had gone through the tyre. I asked myself "Did Mrs B aim for it deliberately ?" but then I realised that was a stupid thought, her eyesight's not that great, after all she married me....
So, it was a slow walk home. It took me about two hours to get the damn tyre off and change the inner tube. No one told me road bike tyres were so much more difficult to remove th a n the mountain bike equivalents. Mrs B vanished to the safety of the living room as I wrest l ed and swore at the tyre in equal measures. Two broken plastic tyre levers later (who could possibly have thought that would make good material for the purpose?) and much scuffing of knuckles and it was repaired. Unfortunately not only had the daylight vanished but Mrs B's lights had gone out as well. She looked so content snoozing away that I didn't have the heart to disturb her....So our bike ride consisted of :
- 2 hours to get all our bike gear together ( hunting out gloves, helmets and cycle clothing which have been hibernating through the winter. Like wires you put them away neatly, don't go near them for months and yet when you do find them again they are all over the place.....) ;
- 5 minutes riding ;
- 10 minutes walking back to the house ; and
- 2 hours wrestling with the bike wheel .
That's it for another week
The only complaint is it does not appear to
have very robust ladies toilets....